Maine Residential Alzheimer’s Care (Memory Care): Laws, Costs & Financial Help

Last Updated: November 13, 2022


In Maine, there are three kinds of assisted living residences that offer room and board with full-time care for dementia patients. They are:

1) Assisted living programs, a type of residence which provides personal care services to people in a community of apartment-style buildings. The apartments have their own living rooms and residents usually share a dining space.

2) Residential care facilities, a type of residence which provides personal and health care services to people living in private and semi-private bedrooms. Residents usually share living and dining space.

3) Private non-medical institutions, a type of residence which offers similar personal and health care services as above, but are funded through Medicaid.

All residences offer support with activities of daily living like eating and bathing, and instrumental activities of daily living like banking and housekeeping. They may also provide meals, care management, medication assistance, and nursing care.

Any of these residences may house people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in special wings, units, or in a whole building specializing in memory care. Among the requirements for these Alzheimer’s or dementia care units are:

– Weekly activities that incorporate improving gross motor skills (movement of arms and legs)
– Self-care
– Social, outdoor, spiritual, and sensory enhancement activities

These buildings’ designs and construction must follow certain rules that benefit people with dementia, like circular hallways for residents prone to wandering. Additional training for staff is also required.

Assisted living in Maine is regulated by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. There are about 25 memory care homes in Maine. Also, there are approximately 18 board and care homes, which offer the same services as assisted living in a smaller house-like setting, usually with fewer than eight residents at a time. For free help finding memory care to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? There were about 29,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease in Maine in 2020, and that number is expected to increase by 20% to 35,000 by 2025. For state-specific dementia resources including a 24/7 helpline, click here.


How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Maine?

The average cost of assisted living with memory care per month in Maine is $7,104. The state’s most expensive city for memory care is Portland, where the average cost is $7,914 per month. The least expensive place for memory care is in Bangor averaging $5,742 monthly. Outside Maine’s biggest cities—in rural areas like the Highlands and Aroostook County, the average cost is $6,294 per month.

Maine residents probably won’t be able to find more affordable memory care across the state border; New Hampshire, Maine’s western neighbor, is one of the most expensive states for memory care, costing $7,325 per month.

  In Maine, free assistance is available to help families locate a memory care home to meet their needs and budgets. Get help here.

Maine cities and memory care costs:

Maine Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Oct. 2022)
Region / City  Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $234 $7,104
Portland $260 $7,914
Lewiston $218 $6,625
Bangor $189 $5,742


Maine Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 Covid 19-Related Measures (updated Oct. 2022)
Residents – Their temperatures are checked and patients are also tested regularly.
Visitors – Can visit loved ones, must wear a mask and temperature is checked upon entry.
Staff – Have temperatures checked upon entry and are regularly tested.

Admissions Process & Requirements

New residents in assisted living in Maine must undergo an assessment within 30 days of moving in, and then updated annually. This evaluation is usually done by a healthcare professional who works for the home, and the cost is typically part of what’s called a community fee. This one time fee covers up-front move-in expenses like an assessment and formulation of individualized care plan and preparing a room for a new resident (deep cleaning and painting). The assessment must include which activities of daily living, like eating and bathing, and instrumental activities of daily living, like managing medications and finances, your loved one needs help with. Medication requirements and whether nursing service is necessary would also be covered in the assessment.

Every assisted living residence in Maine must have a standardized contract for new residents that lists each service provided and the related cost, so there can be no surprises in billing later. Contracts must also include:

– Process for filing a grievance
– Tenancy obligations
– Admissions policy
– Resident rights

A packet must also be available to any potential residents that includes this information:

– Specifics on the type of assisted living program provided (see above)
– Licensure status
– Information and contacts for Maine’s Long Term Care Ombudsman
– Advocacy and state agency contact information
– Process for transfer and discharge
– Staff qualifications

You do not need a diagnosis of dementia to move into memory care in Maine. Dementia is difficult to diagnose, with varying symptoms and multiple types that can appear very similar.

Someone may be denied admittance because:

– Care needs that cannot be met at the residence
– Exhibits behavior that damages property or is dangerous to themselves or others
– Failure to pay

It is possible to move into Maine assisted living homes on short notice, even those with memory care, but this is not a good idea. Finding the perfect home for your loved one takes time and effort. You’ll want to talk with other residents and staff, inspect the grounds, and investigate all your options before signing a move-in contract. Starting your search before the move is necessary also allows your loved one to have more say in where they end up.


Facility / Residence

The requirements for room size of Residential Care Facilities is that bedroom units for one person must be at least 100 square feet or 160 square feet for two people. Two is the maximum number of people allowed in one unit. One toilet must be provided for every six people, and one bath or shower for every 15 people.

Memory care residences must have physical designs that are dementia-friendly. This means features like easily navigated layouts and hallways that run circular without coming to a dead end. Secure outdoor spaces that allow people with dementia to spend time in the open air have also been shown to be beneficial.


Staff & Training

There are no required staffing ratios in Maine assisted living homes. However, there must be enough staff at all times to meet the needs of every resident’s service plan. At least one staffer must be on-duty and awake at all times. An on-site administrator, dietary coordinator, and pharmaceutical consultant must also be employed by Maine assisted living homes. Administrators must be licensed in assisted living or have at least five years of experience in a related field. Administrators must also complete state-approved training and with 12 hours annually of continuing education in a relevant field. Staff who work with residents with dementia must have had pre-service training provided by the residence that includes 16 hours of orientation.


Evictions & Discharges

When moving into an assisted living home in Maine, every resident should be given a written document that explains the process for discharge or eviction. This is an important document that you should file because unfair evictions can be a problem for families nationwide. Regulations say a resident can be evicted for:

– Intentional behavior that damages property
– Medical needs that cannot be met at the residence
– Non-payment

Unlike some other states, Maine does not require the home to assist in finding a new place for your loved one to live. Fortunately, resources are available to help. For information on what to do after receiving an eviction notice, click here.


Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

MaineCare Affordable Assisted Living Program

Through MaineCare, a Medicaid program, state residents who qualify financially and medically can enroll in the Affordable Assisted Living Facility Services program. See detailed MaineCare eligibility criteria or take a short eligibility test here. Medicaid eligibility requires less than $2,742 in monthly income in 2023 and less than $10,000 in countable assets. Services like medical and personal care, as well as meals and medical equipment, might be covered, but be aware that Medicaid, by law, cannot pay for room and board costs associated with memory care and assisted living.


Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Among the reasons for this is that traumatic brain injuries and posttraumatic stress disorder lead to a higher probability of developing the condition. The VA offers many benefits for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as different pension types.


VA Pensions

There are three types of VA Pensions available. The benefits change annually and are valid from December 2022 to December 2023. The benefits (and their maximum allowance) are as follows:

1) Basic Pension – This benefit is also known as a death pension. It is for veterans and surviving spouses who are aged or disabled. The qualifying disability does not need to be related to their military service. On an annual basis, the Basic Pension pays:

– Veterans without spouses or children up to $16,073

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children up to $21,001

– Surviving spouses without dependent children up to $10,756

2) Aid & Attendance – Abbreviated as A&A, this is an important program for veterans and their surviving spouses who require assistance with activities of daily living. This means they need assistance with activities like bathing, dressing, and eating. A&A is particularly helpful for people with dementia, especially in the middle and later stages of the disease, when the need for more assistance becomes necessary. A&A is intended to help with the long-term care costs of adult day care, in-home care, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. Based on an individual’s need and the progression of the disease, most of these additional services that support your loved one will become necessary. Annually, the A&A pays:

– Veterans without spouses or children a maximum of $26,751

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children a maximum of $31,713

– Surviving spouses without dependent children a maximum of $17,191

3) Housebound – For veterans and surviving spouses who are permanently disabled and unable to leave their homes, making them require additional assistance. The definition of “home” can include assisted living, memory care, and nursing home. The Housebound pension, like the A&A pension, is meant to help cover long-term care costs. Annually, the Housebound pays:

– Veterans without spouses or children a maximum of $19,598

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children a maximum of $24,562

– Surviving spouses without dependent children a maximum of $13,145

 More information on VA Pensions’ eligibility criteria, payment rates and the application process is available here.

Veterans Homes

There are also six veterans’ homes in Maine, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. They are located in:

– Maine Veterans Home in Machias. Located in earstern part of the state on the Gulf of Maine. They have a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Maine Veterans Home in Augusta. Located in the state capitol, they have a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Maine Veterans Home in Bangor. Located in eastern central Maine, it is in the Highlands region. This facility has a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Maine Veterans Home in Caribou. They are close to the Canadian border and the most northeastern city in the US. This community has a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough. This southern coastal town has a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Maine Veterans Home in South Paris. Located in the south western part of the state relatively close to the New Hampshire border. They have a 28 bed memory care unit.

In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care is provided. Neighboring states also have veterans’ homes. Your loved one might consider looking there for more options as there are no requirements that one must live in the state. Both Maine and New Hampshire have one facility statewide. More info.


Other Options

1) Elder care loans exist for families to cover the costs of moving into memory care while waiting for other financial resources to become available. For example, if one is waiting for a VA pension to be approved or waiting to sell a home. More on bridge loans for memory care.

2) Tax credits and deductions like the Credit for the Elderly and the Disabled, or the Child and Dependent Care Credit (if you can claim your elderly loved one as a dependent). Remember also that medical and dental expenses can be deducted, and that can include assisted living costs.

3) A reverse mortgage can be an option for a married person moving into memory care, if their spouse continues to live in the home. However, if the spouse moves from their home, the reverse mortgage becomes due.